The Staple Diet of the Platypus

The Yuen Chong 371 is a funny little stapler from the 1960s. But staplers rarely make people’s hearts race, and this one was no exception. Yet, the Yuen Chong 371 is still the world’s best known stapler, thanks to its crucial role in the creation of the children’s cartoon Phineas and Ferb. The series’ creators, Dan ‘Doofenshmirtz’ Povenmire and Jeff Marsh, were …

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Car

Italian media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi began his political career in 1993, as leader of the Forza Italia party, and in 1994 he became Italy’s Prime Minister. No. In actual fact, Berlusconi had already dipped his big toe in the pool of Italian politics ten years earlier, in 1983. To ensure his election in 1984, he promised that every Italian who …

The Sound of Intoxication

The microfauna was an instrument to collect microorganisms from the air, invented by Nikola Tesla in 1879. It worked much like a mass spectrometer. When connected to a microfauna data recorder, it enabled scientists to determine the exact composition of the air. Unlike the mass spectrometer, it did so in terms of microorganisms, rather than molecules. The microfauna was, and …